Investigation launched into bodybuilder’s death after AFC fight in Singapore

Family members and friends of Pradip Subramanian at the wake of the 32-year-old. — Picture by Najeer Yusof/TODAY
Family members and friends of Pradip Subramanian at the wake of the 32-year-old. — Picture by Najeer Yusof/TODAY

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SINGAPORE, Sept 25 — The police are investigating the death of bodybuilder Pradip Subramanian, who reportedly died from “a cardiac arrest respiratory failure episode” following his Asia Fighting Championship (AFC) fight with YouTube personality Steven Lim on Saturday.

Classifying the case as an “unnatural death”, the police said yesterday that they were alerted to the case at 10.27pm.

An AFC statement, citing a preliminary medical report from the Singapore General Hospital, said: “Subramanian suffered a cardiac arrest respiratory failure episode which led to his passing.

“The final medical report will be released in 30 to 60 days.”

Family members and friends of the 32-year-old bodybuilder have been gathering at Woodlands Street 81 since Sunday morning for his wake. Members from the fitness industry, including AFC staff, were also seen at the wake.

A friend of Subramanian, Raveen Naidu, 29, said: “Pradip was a great influence (on) the fitness industry. Most of the people here treasured his respect for the sport, his inclusivity.”

Naidu, a freelance personal trainer who has known Subramanian for about eight years, was also present at the fight on Saturday night at Marina Bay Sands.

He added: “He just wanted to promote a sport and he died doing it. We love him for what he gave us and I think a lot of people understood that he was definitely a pivotal person, socially and in the fitness (scene).

“It is a great loss for all of us and his family.”

Subramanian’s uncle, Venu Gopal, 69, said: “Pradip is a very friendly and nice guy, and the loss feels very personal. I cannot take it.”

“(Subramanian) was his parent’s favourite son,” Gopal added.

Commenting on the death of his opponent, Lim said: “I fought, I won, (but) I mourn I have not slept yet because (I am) very stressed over (Subramanian’s death).

“I feel very sad — at first it’s an occasion to celebrate, but after the news, I feel devastated.”

Lim was originally supposed to fight against another Singapore Idol alumnus Sylvester Sim, who had to pull out due to insurance issues.

However, the Youtube personality told TODAY that he had punched Sim until he bled from his mouth during a trial match, prompting the latter to withdraw from the match.

“I also injured (Sylvester’s) thigh. It’s a test spar. The bosses were watching me. I did not want to lose face,” Lim said.

He later posted about Subramanian’s death on Facebook, saying: “Rest in Peace, my really truly respected fearless warrior and fighter, Pradip Subramaniam!!! This is a very sad moment for me to learn about the shocking news!”

Sasidharan Unnithan, 38, founder of AFC and a close friend of the deceased, told TODAY at the wake: “It was supposed to be a celebrity bout, not something that was going to hurt them ... I’m grieving, I lost a friend too.”

In a statement early Sunday morning, the organiser said Subramanian died at 9pm on Saturday at the Singapore General Hospital.

The cortege departed for the Mandai crematorium at 6.50pm. — TODAY

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